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The Croods

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croods USE THISDreamWorks Animation has the first big animated blockbuster of 2013, which does a lot of borrowing from Avatar, The Incredibles, Ice Age, Journey 2 and The Flintstones, to name a few.

It’s always refreshing when 3D adds something, and it surely does in this picture. We get amazing landscapes and day-glo fluorescent colors. All the running around from the characters creates a nice energy that helps in 3D also.

All of this was written by Monty Python’s legendary comedic genius John Cleese. Some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen involve that man (top of the list has to be A Fish Called Wanda). Unfortunately, this movie wasn’t all that funny. The kids are going to love the slapstick elements, though. I brought a 10-year-old that enjoyed it.

Here’s the story of the caveman family called the Croods. Grug is the father, played by Nicolas Cage (perfecting to cast him as a caveman…if only he were around for Quest for Fire). He likes to utter the phrases like “Never not be afraid!” This becomes problematic for Eep (Emma Stone). She’s the rebellious daughter who wants to be out climbing and exploring her surroundings.

Ugga (Catherine Keener) is the mother, and Cloris Leachman is the nagging mother-in-law of Grug. There’s a dumb brother named Thunk (Clark Duke), and a baby that acts like a rabid dog.

Since there are lots of animals roaming the prehistoric landscape (some real, and some that look like they’re from Dr. Seuss), Grug thinks it’s best they stay in the cave as often as possible. It gets dark in there with a boulder covering it, especially since they haven’t invented fire.

That changes when Guy (Ryan Reynolds) shows up. He has fire, and he lights a fire, under Eep. As her crush grows, her dad gets more and more frustrated with this new, smart kind of homo-sapian. The dad should really be more understanding. After all, he invents shoes, and we all know how women love shoes. It also gets Grug trying to come up with some inventions to impress the dames. His sunglasses aren’t so bad.

The movie becomes a road picture as the Croods all seek higher ground when their cave is destroyed and lava periodically starts spewing from the ground.

Filmmakers Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco made Lilo & Stitch and How to Train Your Dragon. They’ve created a movie that’s visually stunning, but just like Brave, a slightly better script was needed.

There were certainly moments I think about now and chuckle at; Grug, at the first signs of danger, yelling “Stay inside the family kill circle.”

The narrative just follows a familiar arc of predictability, and I was a bit bored at times.

There are lots of sweet moments, especially the father/daughter bonding in the 3rd act.

At least this is a movie the whole family can enjoy.

There’s one point where Grug says “Big words upset me.” I wondered if that was something Nic Cage actually said in the recording studio that wasn’t meant to be in the movie. If you look at his career the last 15 years, it seems apropos.

I’m giving this movie 2 ½ stars out of 5.

5 comments

  • Robert

    This was no "LION KING", but as you said, kids will love it. The best part of the screening? When the big tough guy came out and warned anyone if they used their cellphones, they would be taken out of the theater…yes! Why not do that for every theater? They should make texting at a movie a felony!

  • joshboardfox5

    My favorite part of the screening was the 2-year-old in front of me. Of course they were making noise, because…NO ANIMATED MOVIE is for a 2-year-old that can't sit still or be quiet in a theatre, but the mom decided it would be a good idea to let her hold the 42-oz cup of Coke, which she promptly dropped, and the people in front of them were complaining of the mess. Theatre employees had to come mop it up. Really , people…how many bad decisions can you make in one movie screening???

  • diva

    You criticize other people’s work and you can’t even spell “The Flinstones” correctly. Are you kidding me, my 5 year old can spell better than this.

  • daisy

    “I’m giving this movie 2 ½ stars out of 5.” Was this reviewer high when he reviewed this movie? This film made over $45 Million at the box office and all you can give it is 2 ½. Shows how much your opinion matters.

  • joshboardfox5

    Daisy: The movies box office is hardly a reflection of how good a film is. Just look at the career of Adam Sandler.
    Regarding my stars, the L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, and Boston Globe gave it 2.5 stars as well. The New York Post gave it 1 star. Time Magazine and Variety both gave it bad reviews. I didn't hate it, I was just a bit disappointed.

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